ProbWind and ProbTor Performance

ProbSevere May Have Caught a Missed Severe Wind Event

The ProbSevere v3 drew attention to a cell near Bloomington, IN on the afternoon of June 8th. Specifically it was drawing attention to the wind threat with a high ProbWind percentage reaching 50% to 60%. However, radar interrogation was only initially yielding velocity of 30-40kts on the inbound side of the cell, sub-severe but certainly SPS worthy. There were a few scans yielding up to 45kts as well. So initially there was a little wondering why there was higher ProbWind percentages. Quick realization of the storm track being perpendicular to the radar beam could explain the lower velocity signatures here. Knowing this, ProbSevere and its ProbWind portion was drawing attention to a scenario that otherwise may have been missed if only looking at velocity data and not realizing the storm track relative to the radar beam.

ProbSevere v3 of “Bloomington Cell”

STP went up at 20Z coincident with new SPC mesoanalysis.

ProbSevere v3 readouts of “Bloomington Cell” at 1940Z

KIND Velocity signature of the “Bloomington Cell” @ 1941Z

ProbTOR Missed a Likely Tornado Event – First Example

At 2005Z the KIND radar showed a solid and persistent tornado signature on a cell near Shelbyville, IN. To go along with this in the overall outlook for the day was an MD highlighting the tornado risk and a Tornado Watch that included the southern half of IN. However, the ProbTor parameter did not tick up in response to the tornado signature on radar. The observed uptick at 2000Z, coincided with the intake of the new SPC mesoanalysis data that ProbSevere v3 ingests as described by the product’s providers. Even still, this uptick was small only amounting to a ~5% increase.
ProbTor only peaking at ~15%
The second image below may explain some of this away, showing that two individual cells were coalesced into a single storm identified by ProbSevere v3. These two cells were relatively close to each other, so much so that they did appear as one on MRMS data. However, the third image of SRM and V show the tornado signature associated with the northern cell. This combination, with the southern cell having a much lower tornado potential and being ingested by the northern cell may have played a role in lowering the overall ProbTor percentage.
ProbSevere v3 showing that cell being grouped with another to its south, could this have inhibited the increase in ProbTor?
SRM (left) and V (right) showing the TOR signature with this cell.
Multiple LSRs for wind damage were observed from this event, with a “tornado possible” added to the remarks.

The PHS SigTOR parameter also further supported the tornado risk during the 2000Z hour. The image below shows the PHS SigTOR parameter at 2000Z with ProbTOR percentages overlaid on top. The cell which produced the likely tornado east of Shelbyville, IN is sampled in the image with the ProbTOR only at 9%.

PHS SigTOR parameter pegging the area that produced a TOR. The cell highlighted with ProbTor readout produced the Tornado Warning referenced earlier.

ProbTOR Missed a Likely Tornado Event – Second Example

From roughly 2130Z to 2200Z, a supercell passing west to east through west-central OH showed a persistent meso signature as seen from the KILN radar in Wilmington, OH. This signature eventually depicted gate-to-gate shear and tornado warnings were issued for this cell. The same ongoing Tornado Watch from the prior example also covered this same region. Image three also shows the PHS SigTOR Parameter showing higher tornado potential in the region, although not directly overlaid with where the Tipp City cell was. However, the ProbTor parameter of ProbSevere v3 did not show a corresponding jump in tornado potential. Unlike the prior example which showed the ProbSevere v3 grabbing a second much weaker cell with the tornado producing cell, this was a discrete cell with no merger occurring.

Highlighted in the Tornado Warning issued by the Wilmington, OH office, was a tornado debris signature. The KDAY metar located just south of Tipp City also included “tornado” in the remarks signature, shown in image four.

KILN SRM and V showing tornado signature near Tipp City.

Time series of ProbSevere with persistently low ProbTor for tornado warned storm west of Tipp City.

PHS SigTOR Parameter highlighting higher tornado potential in the region with overlaid ProbSevere – ProbTor percentage for tornado warned cell by Tipp City.

The KDAY metar showed “tornado” in the remarks section for the cell passing through Tipp City.

– Trip

PHS, NUCAPS, Optical Flow, Prob Severe Fun


Today worked out well with PHS and NUCAPS. NUCAPS data came in shortly after opening up our work stations. We decided to compare the output between PHS, NUCAPS, and SPC mesoscale analysis. The variable that we chose was surface CAPE.
They all seemed to match up well highlighting the higher instability to the south that would gradually  push north this afternoon. It was definitely a confidence builder in each product to see the agreement between them.

Optical Flow

We also decided to compare the Optical Flow winds to SPC mesoscale analysis. Once storms developed a bit more, you can pick out a slight directional divergence signal in the flow. Looking at SPC mesoscale analysis there is also directional divergence is present in the mesoscale analysis.
Overall looking at these two examples, using these tools together can be a way to verify information and give the meteorologist more confidence (or less) in a specific product to help them with forecasts, DSS, and warning operations.

Prob Severe

We were able to compare Prob Severe V3 to the time when there was an observed report and when the new tornado warning came with a radar observed tag due to a CC drop. The first image is when there was a twitter report of a tornado around 2142Z in SE Darke county.

At 2144Z the Prob Severe V2 tornado jumped to 21% while V3 only went to 6%.

The next image below is when the radar confirmed tornado was reported.
– Noctilucent & Matador

ILN HWT Blog Day 3


Did finally get a chance to check out NUCAPS for today’s case as the timing and location of the data was more compatible. It was good info ahead of the storms as it showed the low LCL values (mainly noticed in the modified soundings), below 1000 ft which is what you want to see for potential tornadoes. Overall, liked getting to dig into the NUCAP soundings, but given the finicky timing and data quality, it’s not something I could use on a regular basis for warning operations. Would be better suited for short term forecasting or possibly as the mesoanalyst.

GLM & LightningCast

For GLM, I set the max value at 130. I originally set it to 65 as I had been using in the high plains the past few days, but for these midwest storms it seemed too sensitive. 130 was a good value for today, likely because of the larger and more numerous storms than I dealt with today versus the previous days.
Also tried out the parallax corrected LightningCast today. Liked that it gave a more accurate location when using it for a specific location such as today’s DSS event. While it was made to pair with radar, it was still useful when using it with satellite products – just had to take a few seconds to make the mental adjustments at the beginning.


Prior to entering the ILN CWA, the PHS STP showed an area of high STP values in and near Rush County, Indiana. The actual IND office did issue a tor warning for this area at 4 PM ET.
Over time, I did notice that for STP, really just the current hour and the next couple of hours were useful. Jumping to 3 or 4 hours ahead it seemed that the data was missing for areas I expected to see higher values. Once the next run came in and I went back and looked, the data was much better. For an example below, there was a vast difference for 21Z between the 18Z run and the 20Z run where the 18Z run for that time did not seem realistic but the 20Z run was more what I expected to see.
08.18 run for 21Z


After talking with one of the ProbSevere people, was able to learn that the threshold for ProbTor is lower than that for Wind or Hail. For training purposes, it would be good to include this information to give a mental threshold for forecasters, such as an ongoing tornado would likely see a max of around 60% for ProbTor. It makes sense that the probs would be lower for tors just as they are for SPC outlooks where the tor percentages are also lower than that for wind or hail.
– Matador

Northeast Colorado Supercells

Nowcasting Supercell storm entering CWA: The loop of instability and SigTor highlight the southeast/south central CWA east of Colorado Spring, ahead of an already ongoing storm. North of this storm an environment of favorable instability exists up to about the latitude of Denver, with a significant drop off to the north.

When it comes to high and northern plains – parallax becomes an issue. In this case lighting was occurring just on the other side of the border with the CWA, so here are the two LightningCasts (with/without parallax correction) for comparison:

ProbSevere v3 increases correlating to entering a favorable environment

PHI localized CAPE corridor

New area of MFA suggesting spitting storm with new updraft core of the established cell. (1950 UTC)

Storm cell split denoted by MFA with two distinct areas of MFA in upper right panel. (2000 UTC)

Focused on the cell east of Denver – this cell and subsequent others that developed are in the favorable area of instability. Just to the north of Boulder we spotted a few cells that attempted to develop, however in the lower instability environment movement off the higher terrain resulted in these cells falling apart. Through the rest of the afternoon this area remained convection free.

Sig Tor blip. A SRVE like feature was observed but at this time convergence associated with this feature wasn’t favorably located under the updraft.

Cell developing east of Denver, noted by the MFA  in the upper right panel. (2020 UTC)

Cell rapidly develops in an area of localized higher instability denoted by the PHS values discussed earlier on.(2034 UTC)

The LightningCast has identified the left turning nature of the storm(s) east of Denver

An interesting note was comparing the differences between GOES East (left panel) and GOES West (right panel). These subtle differences can  be effective in analyzing the strengthening of a thunderstorm.

In the middle of METWATCH – NUCAPS became available (about 1 hour latency). The sounding below is a modified NUCAPS profile, depicting the environment in which our storms developed. Storm mode was supercellular with frequent spitting of cells.

-Mr. Bean



LightningCast for storm approaching Scottsbluff

First instance of 50% contour 1831 Z
The lightning cast did build before backing off for a few frames, dropping below 50%, but jumps back up above at 1851 Z. From then until the first flashes of lightning, the probabilities continued to increase.
First instance of 75% contour 1906 Z
GLM denotes flash 1915 Z
So, lightningcast was able to indicate well ahead of time that we needed to keep an eye on that storm for lightning production as it approached the city.

GraphiCasts with ProbSevere and PHS

For today’s GraphiCast, decided to overlay ProbSevere V3 over visible satellite data to indicate the location of the stronger storms amongst all the clouds. The concern with using it for public graphics is whether the public will understand it. Went with a brief description that it indicates stronger storms for today, but would be curious to see how others message what probsevere means and then how the public may respond to it. I do like how it clearly shows the cells to watch out for.
To determine the time that storms would continue through, I only used the hourly PHS data which dropped off at 23Z. The images below show 20Z PHS vs 23Z. This timing for storms ending for the CYS CWA worked out well as the strong to severe storms exited the CWA by 2256Z with only a few isolated showers remaining for a short time afterwards.
– Matador

GLM – GOES-16 vs GOES-17

Differences between the GLM Flash Extent Density products from GOES-16 and GOES-17 were quite stark for convection occurring over the Cheyenne, WY CWA on June 7th.

The two animated gifs below highlight the difference in lead times for an observed uptick in lightning activity within a cell near Scottsbluff, NE. The first animation is of GOES-17 showing the uptick in lightning activity beginning at 1939Z. The second animation from GOES-16 shows the same uptick in lightning activity, except beginning ~5mins later at 1945Z. Interestingly enough, both satellite perspectives show the downtrend in lightning activity occurring at 1950Z.

GOES-17 GLM FED Scottsbluff 5-min improved lead time.

GOES-16 GLM FED Scottsbluff

The next three examples show sharp contrasting GLM FED intensities between GOES-17 and GOES-16 through the afternoon of June 7th. This first example focuses on a warned supercell just southeast of Scottsbluff, NE at 2022Z. The first image shows FED from GOES-17 showing much higher FED numbers, while the second image shows FED from GOES-16 not indicating any increased lightning activity. The third image shows a 4-panel layout of MRMS, MESH, VIL, and ProbSevere version 3 all supporting a supercell occurring. A subsequent report of 1.5” hail was observed from this warned storm.

The cause of this was shared from the investigators running the HWT this week, that GOES-17 had the better angle to see lightning activity in these supercells developing over the high plains of WY and NE. Whereas GOES-16’s perspective from further east had to punch through spreading anvils downstream of the main updraft that likely obscured the light emanating from the lightning, GOES-17 had a more side-on view of the updraft with less to no obscurations of light emanating from lightning occurring in the updraft. Unfortunately, GOES-17 CONUS view and the day’s mesosector from GOES-17 did not reach this far east and there are no satellite images displaying the different parallax views from GOES-16 and GOES-17.

GOES 17 GLM FED @ 2022Z “Scottsbluff Cell”

GOES 16 GLM FED @ 2022Z


1.5” hail report from this storm. Max MESH reached 2”.

The next two examples below each showcase three images each, a GOES-17 FED showing higher intensity lightning activity, a GOES-16 FED missing the higher intensity lightning activity, and a 4-panel layout showing MRMS, MESH, VIL, and ProbSevere version 3 highlighting the severe nature of the supercell.

An interesting follow-up to this in the future is to see how these two satellite GLM FED products compare in a low-storm motion environment where the spreading anvils at storm top flow in all directions. This could cause both satellites to have an obscured view of the convective updraft beneath, causing both to miss out on any increased lightning activity.

GOES-17 GLM FED @ 2016Z “Lance Creek Cell”

GOES-16 GLM FED @ 2016Z “Lance Creek Cell”


GOES-17 GLM FED @ 2026Z “Scottsbluff Cell”

GOES-16 GLM FED @ 2026Z “Scottsbluff Cell”

MRMS – MESH – VIL – PROBSEVEREv3 @ 2026Z “Scottsbluff Cell”

– Trip

NUCAPS uses in comparison between separate satellite passes

NUCAPS has been quite useful in comparison between previous passes. (Comparing the NOAA-20 modified and the Aqua), shows how an environment is changing to the south and southeast of the storm cell moving through Custer. We noticed a rapidly changing environment when compared to early afternoon convection. Sfc temperatures and mid level instability increased quite a bit as this storm moved off the higher terrain and into a more favorable mesoscale environment.

NOAA-20 Pass from approximately 19Z. On western SD/NE border.

Aqua Pass from approximately 2030Z. Same location. (On western SD/NE border.)

This increase in surface temperatures as the storm moves into a more favorable environment. Notable spike and jump in Hail core and probabilities.

A notable spike after 2130 for prob hail and prob severe.

-David Spritz

ProbSevere v3 and NUCAPS

When analyzing a thunderstorm developing over western South Dakota, a noticeable jump occurs near 20:25 – 20:30 UTC as seen on the ProbSevere Time Series. At this same time, there was a distinct uptick in lightning activity seen in the GLM 4 panel. This would correlate with a strengthening of the thunderstorm at this time. A modified NUCAPS sounding from around this time captured an environment favorable for further strengthening encompassed by steep mid level lapse rates and adequate instability. This thunderstorm was beginning to exhibit severe hail potential.

ProbSevere Time Series

GLM-16 4 panel

Modified NUCAPs sounding ~20 UTC



Interesting item to note when analyzing PHS forecast CAPE over western South Dakota. This may be terrain induced, but the sharp gradient of CAPE values noted up and and down the western border of South Dakota.  This correlated fairly well with a strong storm or two in the western UNR CWA.

PHS CAPE sharpening gradient in the top left panel.

Wide view of storms in the area using PSv3.

Close in view of several storms on or near that boundary.

David Spritz

LBF Day 1 HWT Blog

Day 1

Acting as LBF
This image was used in a graphicast to which we then added areas of concern over the next several hours and storm direction.

PHS, ProbSevere

Enjoyed using PHS, especially getting the heads up at the beginning of today’s session to watch along the value gradients for stronger storms. That tip fit the bill for what we were seeing today and higher prob severe seemed to follow the gradient as well. I have not had much practice with version 2 of probsevere, so I cannot not really compare it to version 3. However, I did find version 3 useful today, especially with all the readout information breaking down the threat level for each type of severe hazard as well as mesh values.
2041 UTC
2141 UTC


From an IDSS standpoint, the Lightningcast is nice to use to give a heads up and see trends in lightning.
For GLM, I really liked decreasing the max value. Seems to work well in these smaller cells to highlight which cells to watch for.
– Matador